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Bayer MaterialScience Develops DirectCoating/DirectSkinning Technology for Car Interiors

Published on 2013-09-26. Author : SpecialChem

LEVERKUSEN -- A customized, harmonious interior design is an important factor for an increasing number of car buyers. Surfaces should exude quality, feel good and be robust enough to withstand every day wear and tear. The automotive industry is committed to reducing the cost of manufacturing components and significantly improving productivity. The DirectCoating/DirectSkinning technology developed in collaboration with Bayer MaterialScience meets all of these requirements. Combined with new thermoplastic substrates, the process allows coated components to be manufactured efficiently in a single step.

The surfaces of various components can be designed in line with the customer's wishes over a broad range. "There are transparent or colored coatings whose appearance can vary from matte to glossy to a piano-like finish," says Dr. Johannes Scherer, Project Manager of the DirectCoating/DirectSkinning process. "The feel can be set to hard or soft. Pebbled and structured surfaces are also possible by giving the mold the appropriate form."

This development is part of an integrated material concept from Bayer MaterialScience for the future design of car interiors, which will be presented to the public for the first time at the company's stand - A 75 in Hall 6 - at the K 2013 plastics trade fair. Visitors to K 2013 will also be able to see for themselves how a component is manufactured using DirectCoating technology. At stand D 24 in Hall 15, their partner company KraussMaffei will be producing a sample design component for car interiors with the polycarbonate blend Bayblend® and finishing it with two different hardcoats.

Production in a single mold

DirectCoating technology involves a thermoplastic substrate that is injection molded into the first cavity of a two-component mold. It can be transferred in-mold directly to the second cavity using various techniques. "By that a narrow gap is created that is then flooded with a two-component polyurethane coating," explains Jan Helmig, an expert in process engineering. Depending on the intended properties, this could be either a Bayer Bayflex® system or a coating based on raw materials from the Desmodur® and Desmophen® lines and provided by one of the company's coatings customers. "After opening the mold, the ready-coated part can be removed immediately for further processing. The surface of the mold has been transferred perfectly to the polyurethane," says Jan Helmig.

Optimized substrate materials

Bayer MaterialScience provides various substrate materials from the Makrolon® range (polycarbonate, PC) as well as the Bayblend® and Makroblend® lines of PC blends. These all possess outstanding heat resistance and impact strength. Specially developed for this process, the products are also characterized by excellent adhesion to polyurethane systems that also stands up to weathering.

One example are the new Bayblend® grades for car interiors that exhibit significantly improved coating adhesion compared to standard blends. Materials in the Makroblend® series demonstrate impressive low-temperature impact strength, weatherability and media resistance, making them ideal for exterior use. Good coating adhesion is particularly crucial for car exteriors when the vehicle is exposed to a variety of weather conditions, including UV radiation.

The concept developed by Bayer MaterialScience provides customers and end users with a matched system that fulfills the desire for high-quality materials with decorative and robust surfaces. These products are already available for customer projects.

Multi-faceted look and feel

While it is the substrate materials that ensure the components are lightweight and robust, the decorative look and pleasant feel come from the coating. Bayer MaterialScience's partners offer various solvent-free coating systems for the DirectCoating process. They are based on raw materials from the Desmodur® and Desmophen® lines, and are characterized by excellent resistance to weathering, chemicals and scratching. Self-healing systems can also be used.

Depending on requirements, transparent and colored coatings are available that provide high-gloss, matte or structured surfaces as desired. Haptic coatings for the interior are also available in various degrees of softness. One example is a Bayflex® polyurethane system that provides a compartment in the interior of a series vehicle with the look and feel of natural leather using the DirectSkinning process.

Tailored materials and service

Bayer MaterialScience draws on its extensive experience to support its customers with component development, such as with the simulation and design of the injection molds, and with process engineering issues. The company provides plastic samples for projects and advises customers on formulating and choosing appropriate coatings. Customer projects can be carried out and developed on Bayer MaterialScience's own injection molding and reaction injection molding (RIM) facilities in its well-equipped technical centers.

"The greatest technical challenge lies in developing and implementing a highly-automated and robust process along the entire value-added chain," says Scherer. "That is the primary objective of our current activities and the collaboration with our partners."

About Bayer MaterialScience

With 2012 sales of EUR 11.5 billion, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world's largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2012, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,500 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

Source: Bayer MaterialScience


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